Bring On The Carbs

Bring On The Carbs

Atkins-schmatkins. These pastas, risottos, breads, rice and noodles can all banish carb's bad rep.
Veronica Phua
Veronica Phua

Since I don’t have plans to travel to Kuala Lumpur anytime in the near future, I yelped with joy when I spotted “KL Hong Cha Pork Noodles” at Malaysia Food Street in @rwsentosa. It’s all @blueskiescottonclouds’ fault 😂 If she had not shared on her Stories about enjoying the real thing in KL, Malaysia which is where she is currently at, I wouldn’t have been harbouring such a insatiable craving for Pork Noodles.
Anyways, the one I stumbled upon turned out to be very tasty. Not sure if it can match the original across the border but I was a happy camper. The soup was robust and properly seasoned, and alongside the soft “kway teow” were slices of pig’s liver and lean pork, lumps of minced pork as well as crunchy pork lard. The food arrived piping hot and tasted fresh. It wasn’t exactly cheap at $9 but it did leave me sweaty (from slurping the soup) and satisfied.

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It seems that decades ago, Uncle Ho Hoi Ching or “Ah Ching” use to be the head cook at the original famous Geylang Claypot Road for over twenty years. He then left to start his own stall in a coffeeshop in Bedok South, but these days, you can find him at:

430 Upper Changi Road, #01-09
East Village
Singapore 487048

This eatery is owned by Mr. Teng and occupies two units. It used to be called “Eng’s Wanton Mee & Claypot Rice East Village” but the signboard has since been changed and doesn’t include the word “Eng’s” any longer. Our friends who took us there, chose to sit outside under the evening sky as the weather was really pleasant. Mr. Teng then brought me to the kitchen to have a peek at Uncle Ah Ching and his assistant at work. The heat was so intense from the multiple charcoal stoves, the younger man’s shirt was soaked through with sweat.
The claypot rice was indeed every bit as amazing as May described. One of the wait staff did the final touches for it right at the table - lashing on the thick black sauce before giving the contents of the claypot a thorough mix.
I found the salted fish used to be of superb quality - it’s moist and intense, lending a stunning funky savouriness to the dish. The rice was very fragrant, and the chicken pieces - large, juicy and incredibly tender to the bite (yes, even the breast meat). As for the “lap cheong”, it was decent and there was a reasonable amount of “chye sim”. We were also given some sambal chilli to spice things up if we wanted.
The portion May got was good for 4 to 5 pax and it proved plenty partly because she also ordered a few other dishes, but that’s another story which warrants its own post 😊

Last Thursday, we visited @chefshentan’s new hawker stall @oglemak at Newton Circle Food Centre (#01-16) to indulge in her signature Twice-Steamed Nasi Lemak that’s made with, get this, eleven ingredients.
I chose the Vegan Set ($9.90), a first by her, and enjoyed it very much. For me, the star was undoubtedly the rice - it was as light, fluffy and aromatic as I recall. But that’s not to say I didn’t relish every bite of the beancurd, two sambal stirfries of crunchy sambal goreng and mushy-soft brinjal, because I most certainly did. There was also the fried pieces of tempeh, fresh cucumber slices and a very appetising spicy and tangy chilli sambal that rounded off my vibrant-coloured serving.
T.H. hoovered up every bit of his Chicken Rendang Set ($9.90) which had a whole thigh (it’s tender, moist and saturated in the rich and spicy rempah gravy), a fried egg, ikan bilis, cucumber and two kinds of chilli sambals.
What’s really interesting is that this is the first time Chef Shen has prepared her Nasi Lemak completely pork-free. In fact, the stall is pending approval for their application of a halal license.
Do stop by @oglemak and show some support if you are into nasi lemak 😊

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A sloppy mess that looks like a slapdash effort but we were impressed at how tasty this mountainous serving of “Fish Head & Bittergourd Bee Hoon” ($18) proved to be.
Manned by what looks like a father-and-son team, “Guang Xing Original Taste Fish Head Bee Hoon” (stall #01-31) at Changi Village Food Centre had already attracted a queue by the time we arrived around 5.30pm for an early dinner. All in all, it took about 15 to 20 mins from ordering to the food arriving but we didn’t mind the wait.
There’s “wok hei” but I was more interested in how full of fish-rich flavour the rice noodles were from the stock and the wet, braising style of frying. This is not a dish for those who can only handle fish fillets because the Red Snapper fish head is chopped into large pieces and has bones you’ll need a pretty nimble tongue to maneuver around. But those who can, are amply rewarded. The strips of bittergourd retain some bitterness and crunch which provide a welcome contrast to the bee hoon.
I really like the sambal chilli mixed with fresh-cut chilli padi and splash of soya sauce that’s served alongside. It really works for this stronger-in-fish-taste noodles.

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When I was at a friend’s home for mahjong yesterday, I was delighted to see that its central singapore location allowed me to order #biangbiangnoodlexianfamousfood on @grabfoodsg. This is a stall I have had on my wishlist for a while.
Between the Spicy and Non-Spicy versions of their signature Biang Biang Noodles which I chose to have with Tomato, Egg and Pork; we all preferred the former. However, since the heat level was really manageable and I’d like it dialed up considerably, I shall request for Extra Spicy next time. If you adore garlic, you are in for a treat because there’s chunks of it in there.

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Rediscovered an Italian restaurant that had wow-ed me many, many years ago, thanks to the @ourgrandfatherstory video I co-hosted with @cheahwenqi. When the Producer @jialinng mentioned that @portaportaitalianrestaurant was one of the places we would be filming at, the name rang a bell in my head. During the shoot, we got to meet Chef-owner Rosie and I recognised her at once from my visit to Porta Porta when it was at its first location, directly across from Changi Prison. After stuffing my face on a few of her restaurant’s specialities on camera, I vowed to return for a proper meal. So last Sunday, that was where I took my parents for dinner.
As usual, I decided to order us a few dishes to share, so we could try a variety. One of these was the “Tagliatelle Al Nero Di Seppie” which had me and my mum floored with its overwhelming tastiness. Memories of when I last ate this dish of squid ink pasta suddenly flooded back - it was during the early days of the restaurant’s opening and I recalled meeting Rosie‘s now late Italian husband who had come over to chat during our meal. If time has had any bearing on this dish, it’s only for the better because honestly, words fail to describe how helluva spectacular it currently is. I loved the perfect al dente-ness of those eggy ribbons of tagliatelle, and the midnight-black sauce was unbelievably umami. Chef Rosie’s unconventional addition of chilli for spiciness only propelled the pasta to stratospheric deliciousness.
Warning: Eating this leaves you with black lips and teeth. There is no way to avoid that. But trust me, it is worth the weird looks you’ll get when you grin in supreme satisfaction.

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My second visit to @singapore_enishi was with first-timers @liltune and @lannybudiman. I had been dreaming of this eatery’s ferociously tasty, award-winning noodles ever since I slurped it up earlier this month. As hard as it is to believe, I was even more blown away by the noodles this time around! Reasons being I opted for the “extra spicy” version (the hotness was actually really manageable) plus I knew the importance of taking my time to mix everything in the bowl extremely thoroughly before eating (please don’t neglect this step as it makes a big difference). The outcome was shockingly mouthwatering with the creamy sauce (it’s made using cashew nuts and sesame) and all the other seasonings blending together seamlessly, to coat every surface area of the thick “meepok”-like noodles and the toppings of minced pork, tender smoked duck, torched cubes of juicy chashu, raw and fried Japanese onions, fresh mizuna and pickles. When I’d gobbled up the noodles, I requested for a portion of rice (it’s free!) to throw in. Those fluffy grains were the perfect vehicle to mop up whatever leftover sauce there was. Fantastic! 😋😋😋

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A gem of a Penang-style Char Kway Teow that was too good to not repeat. So after we wolfed down plate number one, I sprang off my chair to put in another order - also a large ($6) and with extra chilli as well.
We agreed the young man manning the stall, did a great job with the frying. The plate of rice noodles had proper “wok hei” and a respectable amount of beansprouts and chives. Unlike the Singapore-style Char Kway Teow which can be a little (or a lot) wet and sweet, this was dry-ish and savoury through and through. Which is exactly my preference when given a choice.

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西安即象, a Chinese eatery introduced to me by Renae once upon a time, serves cheap and authentic China-Chinese food that is hearty and tasty. I paid it a visit again yesterday and repeated my order of Biang Biang Noodles ($5), the same item I had previously but asked for it to be extra spicy.
This dish requires some elbow grease to ensure the fresh, hand-made, ultra-broad noodles are properly mixed with the stewed tomato sauce, dried chilli spices, chopped scallions, small bits of omelette, a smattering of raw garlic, some bok choy and big beansprouts (yes, it’s vegetarian).
If you aren’t into chewy noodles, skip this because your jaw is guaranteed a proper workout here but that’s what I love about it. Flavours are tasty - good enough to satisfy my craving since travel is not possible nowadays.
As this humble eatery is located on the outside of People’s Park Complex along the row facing the hawker centre, seating is limited to a few tables and chairs on the narrow stretch that separates the building from the bustling hawker centre at Blk 32 New Market Road. So try to avoid the usual peak hours if you can help it.

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After learning that @singapore_enishi is Chef Ashino’s (@ashino_at_chijmes_) favourite ramen joint, I was eager to try it.
This nook of an eatery with an L-shaped counter on level two of International Plaza is the first local branch of the MICHELIN Bib Gourmand-awarded ramen restaurant in Kobe, Japan. There are only two noodles on their menu - a signature Dashi Ramen (Chef Ashino’s go-to) and a Dan-Dan Ramen that I swear, beats every other Dan-Dan I’ve ever eaten, flat!
All ingredients used at Enishi is imported from Japan, which is the reason for the fixed number of 100 servings per day (#yousnoozeyoulose). Hence, I made sure we were standing outside the little restaurant at 5.50pm the evening of our first visit.
Custom-made to their specifications, Enishi’s noodles are gluten-free and resemble a thicker version of “mee pok”. The buckwheat in it creates a rougher surface that helps the sauce to grip better. And what a sauce it is! A mouthwatering amalgamation of creamy sesame sauce with assorted condiments, it is thick, rich and very fragrant. I watched as Chef mix the noodles with it, taking care to ensure very even distribution, so each strand was well coated.
Blanketing all of it was a generous amount of chashu and smoked duck cut into cubes, minced pork, chunks of raw white onions (FYI - these are about ten times the price of onions found locally), fresh mizuna, fried onions and Japanese purple pickles. On the side, a soft-boiled egg destined to join the noodles, plus a bowl of dashi-based soup. Another thing I love about Enishi’s Dan Dan Noodles is the three types of vinegar in kelp, orange and spicy variants, that you can splash on to your heart’s content.
Whichever item you pick, a printed guide is given to you. On it are step-by-step instructions on how to get the most enjoyment out of your order.
As light as it appears, @singapore_enishi’s dashi-based ramen more than held its own in terms of flavour too. The MSG-free savoury soup was not heavy but beautifully complex and it had a lift from a lilting note of yuzu. This would be perfect if you are in the mood for something soupy.

Stumbled upon this Laksa Chee Cheong Fun at @mayskafe yesterday and was very pleased with how enjoyable it turned out to be. Silkier and softer than the usual thick beehoon, the steamed rice rolls were lovely with the sufficiently fragrant, thick-but-not-too thick laksa gravy. Soaking it up well enough were the default pieces of “tau pok” but you must absolutely add the “tau kee”. This extra ingredient was the most marvelous thing in the bowl for me. Each rolled-up piece were folds of beancurd skin so smooth and heavy, and proved incredibly shiok with the gravy.

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One of the shiokest Mee Gorengs I’ve hoovered up in recent times is this plate at the @nosignboardseafood restaurant in @esplanadesingapore. They use an uncommonly thin yellow mee and fries it brazenly with seafood, beancurd and vegetables in quite a lot of spiciness till there’s “wok hei”. The end result is fluffy and light, yet really robust in flavour.

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